'BRAIN DRAIN' to ‘BRAIN GAIN’
to ‘BRAIN CIRCULATION’…
Niloufar in Kabul
"As far as I can remember, I wished to go back to Afghanistan to do something for those who unfortunately do not have the same opportunities and possibilities as I did. I was lucky to be chosen to go to the Kabul Medical University (KMU)".
A young doctor living and working in the Netherlands embarked on a journey to Afghanistan in April.
Niloufar Rahim returned to train medical students and professionals at Kabul Medical University in clinical skills and to set up a clinical skills lab.
Three medical students and three young professionals of Kabul Medical University were trained in a vast array of specialized medical skills, from acute medicine, physiological skills, surgical skills and obstetrical/gynecological skills to didactic and organizational skills.
One of Niloufar's core beliefs is that: "Education is one of the key elements to safeguard development and sustainability."
Her students were also trained as certified trainers for a new clinical skills lab.
All this made many demands on their time – one of the issues was how to keep the trainers involved and interested because of their overbooked schedules.
Another challenging aspect of Niloufar's endeavour was centralizing the clinical skills lab.
The lab activities are currently scattered over three separate locations in the medical university, which hampers efficiency.
Kabul Medical University board members are encouraging and enthusiastic and they will give Niloufar and her team all possible support in moving the necessary material and equipment together in one secure location.
In the meantime, a social media group was created by Niloufar to further assist coordinators and trainers from the Netherlands. This way, she can continue her relationship with the people she works with, so that the end of the assignment did not mark the end of their collaboration.
Niloufar is part of an IOM the Netherlands initiative called Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) which aims to connect diaspora experts who like to 'give something back' with host institutions in their homeland. In this case, CD4D connected Niloufar to Kabul Medical University by identifying the need for such an expert and then facilitated her travels and stay to establish a relationships for sustainable development.
Not only was a social media group established to tackle the distance between the Netherlands and Afghanistan, but the training sessions of third year medical students will be continued until all the students are trained - that is a total of 150.
Once they have completed their training, a further 150 dental students will be trained in the same way. Opportunities in the Netherlands are also being explored for creating an Afghan medical student exchange with Dutch universities.
Niloufar can continue her relationship with the people she works with - this way the assignment does not mark the end of their collaboration.